Maddalena De Padova, cofounder of a design company focused on Midcentury modern furniture, died at the age of 88 on Nov. 3, in her home in Barzio nel Lecchese, about 50 miles north of Milan.
De Padova founded the namesake design label with her husband, Fernando, in 1956. They began by importing Scandinavian furniture and objects for the first time in Italy.
During the Sixties, De Padova got in touch with the American company Herman Miller and acquired the manufacturing license for the production of Charles Eames and George Nelson furniture and other products in Italy. The ICF De Padova was founded with headquarters in Vimodrone, outside of Milan.
De Padova’s 21,527-square-foot showroom, which has been one of the most iconic Milanese design destinations for more than 50 years, was also inaugurated during this time, in 1965, in the city’s central Corso Venezia.
After Fernando’s death in 1967, Maddalena ran the company herself, supervising not only production, but also distribution and communication. After ceding the ICF brand with the license to make Herman Miller products, she launched the “Edizioni De Padova” line of furniture, which would later be known as the “è De Padova” brand. She also started to team up with many prominent designers, including Vico Magistretti, Achille Castiglioni and Dieter Rams. She signed a partnership with architect Renzo Piano in the Nineties for the furnishings of Centre Georges Pompidou’s café in Paris and the Morgan Library‘s restaurant in New York.
In 2004, Maddalena De Padova received the Compasso d’Oro award for her career and her contribution to the Made in Italy movement. In the same years, she reopened the ICF headquarters in Vimodrone and continued fostering a new generation of talent, welcoming Patricia Urquiola and Nendo as part of the designers’ team.
After the company’s helm passed to children Valeria and Luca, De Padova was fully acquired by historic Italian bathroom and kitchen specialist Boffi in April 2015, and few months later the showroom was closed and moved to the near Via Santa Cecilia. The Corso Venezia space is occupied by Armani/Casa.